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Balancing Act

I am far from the busiest person in the world, though, sometimes it feels like it.  As a father, husband, teacher, artist, etc., I wear a lot of hats and have to find a way to balance them all.  At times, it can be challenging. At times, I barely get enough sleep to function the next day. But I enjoy all of it, so I don’t know if I would change much at this point.  

I would like to think that I am an artist first, but that is far from the truth. In fact, I can only really be an artist when I find the time. My dream would be to win the lottery, quit my job, and just create art all day (a conversation my wife and I have had many times), but since I live in the real world, I have other responsibilities to take care of first.  

First off, I am a husband and a father.  My family comes first. They are very supportive in what I do all around, but I feel guilty if I spend too much time on my interests and don’t focus on them.  I have a small “studio space” in the basement that I share with the kids’ toy room. (Two young boys can really accumulate a lot of toys very quickly) I am glad that I have a space to work/keep my stuff, and I am thankful that my wife is understanding enough to allow me a dedicated space to work, but it still means that I am tucked away in the basement, either late at night when the kids go to bed, or while they are outside playing or having fun elsewhere.

As a teacher, a lot of my time is spent lesson planning, grading, other paperwork, etc.  It is very time consuming. If I didn’t stop myself, it could take over most if not all of my free time.  As my primary job, however, it is my main focus (outside of my family). The silver lining, though, is that I am an Art Teacher, so I can usually sneak in a project or two while the students are working.  But mostly I just work on example pieces or demo videos or practice worksheets. I enjoy teaching and don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon, but again, I would rather just spend all day creating my own work.

I also have personal interests that keep me busy.  A couple of times a month I go to Boy Scout meetings as an Adult leader in the troop I participated in as a youth.  I also attend Cub Scout meetings for my boys’ Cub Scout Pack (their meetings are on different days, so that’s a few more nights a month).  There are also school events (both mine and the boys’). Plus, I work a part-time job at a local home-improvement store at least one night a week.

When we sit down and fill out the monthly calendar, the days fill up quick. With all of my stuff going on, I still have to take into consideration my wife’s schedule.  She has things going on in the evenings that make it so I need to stay home with the boys. We also like to spend time together as a family, so we make sure to carve out time for that.

On top of all of that, I do find some time to create some artwork of my own. It is never as much as I would like, but it is at least something. As new shows/conventions creep up, I tried to focus a little more on getting stuff done, but in the end I just hope that I can balance everything.  Some days I feel like I have it under control, while others feel like I am barely holding it all together. As long as the good days outweigh the bad ones.

I will never claim to have all of the answers.  I generally assume that someone could take an overview of my schedule and find a better way to make it all work.  But for us, for now, this works. I feel like I am balancing all of my obligations and not leaving anyone out. I would love to take more time for “me”, but as a parent as well as a teacher, my kids come first.  

Take advantage of the time you have when you have it.  You are never too busy to focus on the important things.  For me, my wife and kids always come first, everything just falls into place as it needs to.